Make cleaning count for learning

Make cleaning count for learning

Just to be clear, cleaning is not the extent of our homeschooling education. In fact not much of the regular cleaning burden falls on my kiddos due to their hefty gymnastics and dance schedule. However, as a busy working, homeschooling mom, I love when I can find ways to work smart, not hard. And when life dictates something must get done, it’s a bonus when it can serve double duty. So here are some ways to make cleaning count for learning.

Science in cleaning

What makes cleaning products work? What precautions need to be taken when using cleaning products? How do you choose a cleaning product? What is cross contamination? How do you clean while avoiding damage?

Cleaning products are a great opportunity to become an educated consumer. You can learn about acid/base properties, chemical reactions, or abrasion as cleaning. Materials requiring cleaning such as wood, with or without sealant, can demonstrate properties such as porous. Some surfaces are easy to scratch, and caution must be used with cleaning products. Yet those products are fully in a solid state. Other products are very durable and scratch resistant. What makes them different?

Effectiveness vs Safety of cleaning products

Over the years I have become more aware of the products we use in our household. Both food we eat, and products we clean with can add to our overall toxic load, which can affect our health in many ways. This has been a process, and I have a long ways to go in improving health conscious decisions. One of the ways I have started to decrease our toxic load has been making my own cleaning products. I was a huge skeptic in the beginning, but I have found many of the products I have made with essential oils to be just as effective as the chemical laden products with all the health warnings.

One of my favorite DIY cleaning product is this shower spray. After many years of holding my breath through cleaning the tub and shower, this has been a great change. Another favorite has been these toilet bombs. I look forward to experimenting with many more DIY cleaning products. Discussion about the products we use, and why, is a great learning opportunity when cleaning needs to be done. Learning about the importance of choosing products wisely for our health is good to start early. With ADHD in the household, reducing the toxic load is especially important.

Helpful tools

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Cleaning chemicals are only part of the equation. There are many other tools that make cleaning more efficient and easier. One of my favorites is this robotic vacuum cleaner. While this requires less active participation, kids can participate in maintenance, and necessary preparation of the robots path for it to run safely without damage. It’s also a great conversation starter for other robotics that might be useful. Talking through potential problems is also great critical thinking.

Tools to decrease the chemicals

I have friends that sell Norwex, and swear by it’s superiority. I love the concept of decreasing the toxic load by cleaning with only water. However, the demonstrations I have seen to support its superior clean over things such as Chlorox wipes don’t follow basic scientific method. As a nurse that has helped facilitate many research studies over the last 20 years, proper controls and scientific method is deeply engrained in my brain. I also have encountered many hospital practices of proper cleaning for various contaminants. So, I am particular about what items I will clean with water only products. This was also a great opportunity to discuss the scientific method.

Here are some basic water only products I feel good about using at a fraction of the price. They work for things that I’m less concerned about being sanitized carefully. These include windows or mirrors, wiping down stainless steel appliances, dusting, etc. I personally don’t feel great about the water only mop pads due to the extent of dirty that my floors get from animals and kids. Rinsing it out under running water seems entirely too labor intensive. Despite often needing a second pass with fresh water to get a really good clean, this mop/bucket combo with a great cleaning product makes it pretty quick and easy. Doterra has a great multipurpose cleaning product that smells great, contains properties that work great against many germs, and I can feel good about not adding to our toxic load. Other times I will reach for this nostalgic Mr. Clean from my childhood.

Time management to meet deadlines

Another learning opportunity with cleaning can be time management. This is something that they will need for the remainder of their lives, wether for college, maintaining a home, work projects, etc. Check out my post here about using positive rewards for time management with ADHD. These can be helpful for anyone, but crucial tools to have with ADHD. In relation to cleaning, we may discuss this in regards to daily and weekly maintenance tasks.

Recently we had a big push to clean the house from top to bottom in preparation for a guest. If you are someone that has a perfectly developed system for frequently decluttering and organization, kudos to you! However, this is not the case in our home, thus the interruption in regular bookwork for school to facilitate getting through all the required cleaning. We used some fun rewards when tasks were completed in a timely fashion and well. As a bonus, lessons were learned along the way.

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The content in this post is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  It is merely opinion based on personal research and experience.

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